Dear People On The Internet

Dear People On The Internet

Something you’ve perhaps failed to understand over the last 15 or so years:

Reply –> Sends email to the person who sent it and only that person.

Reply to All –> Sends email to everyone on the “To” line of the original email plus the original sender.

Times where clicking Reply To All is appropriate:

  1. You know everyone in the group and what you have to say pertains to all/most of you.
  2. It is not a note/message meant for only the person who sent the original message.

Times when clicking Reply to All is not appropriate:

  1. 98% of your life on the web, people.

Seriously, the Reply to All should never, ever, ever, ever be your default clicky button when replying to emails. If you cannot help but click that button because of some curious disease of the mind (or habit, whatever), then remove that button from your interface. Don’t know how to do that? Ask a teenager.

Because, really, the number of you people out there who do not understand this, and the number of you who run businesses on the Internet and yet do not understand this to a crippling degree, appalls me. There is no reason for this foolishness.

No love,


Related Letter:

Dear People Who Design Email Programs,

Help us out, here. Make it so every time someone clicks “Reply to All” a window or dialogue box pops up and says: “Do you really want to do that? Reply To All is only appropriate when…”

Make it so that only people who really understand computers can figure out how to turn this off. You’re good at that, especially if you work for Microsoft.

If you do this, you’d be doing the rest of us a huge favor, thanks.



Branching Out

Branching Out

We’re adding several new features/columns at Fantasy magazine over the next few months.  (And I’m in charge!  Wooo!  I love being in charge.) One of the more fun aspects is getting in more different types of reviews.  TV, Film, Comic Books, etc. (I asked Wil Wheaton to do the comic column, he never answered me.  Now I can’t decide if it’s because my email got lost/overlooked or because he was insulted that I said we couldn’t pay.)

Anyway, the first of our film reviews is up today.  Genevieve Valentine gave up several hours of her life–at dear cost, I might add–to watch and review a SciFi channel miniseries.  All to make you people laugh.  So go over there and read it.

I will say, the majority of our reviews will not be so heavily styled.  But once I read the text she gave me, it had to be done that way.

Next week I talk about that damn Torchwood finale of fail and perhaps the Doctor Who first two episodes of win.

What Is Going On With Me

I am going to various social functions this week and missing some others and there is a lot going on with me. And as I know that I am not myself at the moment, I should probably explain somewhat.

Yesterday my grandmother died. She’s been sick for a long time and a few months ago the doctors informed us that her heart was failing and that she did not have very long to live. Cue the bit where I say this was expected, yes, but still hits me hard, yes. The funeral is this Saturday, which means that I’m going to miss ComicCon, which isn’t so big a deal, but also means that I’m attending a funeral on my birthday, which I am intellectually aware I should be somewhat upset about but can’t bring myself to feel much of anything at the moment.

I still don’t know how/if this will affect my Thursday birthday plans.  I do know that I won’t be having the party on Sunday, so I’ll email folks to reschedule.  I’ve made plans to have someone else do my duties at ComicCon, so that is mostly covered.  I will be at KGB this week.

Whenever something like this happens, most people’s first reaction is to ask “How are you?” or say, “Are you doing okay?” and the answer I will inevitably give is I am fine and Yes. But may I ask, if folks don’t mind, that you please not ask me those questions?  Or, really, ask me anything about it at all?  In general, I am not doing well and I don’t really want to talk about it.  And as with the days and months and years after my mother died, my reaction to anyone saying “I’m so sorry” and “How are you?” is to barrel right through their kind words and on to some other topic.  Or, even worse, to wave my hand dismissively and say it’s okay or I’m fine or It’s nothing when it most certainly IS something.  But I do not deal with grief well, and certainly not in public, so if it’s all the same, I would rather just not have to tell everyone I am fine.

I realize I’m being very high-handed and dictating how people should deal with me at this point, but considering that I’m unable to function normally and people will probably be like WTF is wrong with you? because of it, I feel the need to explain.  It also heads off most of the WTF comments.

Some Help, If Folks Don’t Mind

Some Help, If Folks Don't Mind

I have come across a minor research hurdle and wondering if anyone out there is able to help. It’s a simple yet hard-to-Google topic that I’d rather not get into publicly (not because it’s embarrassing, just… other reasons). Anyway, if you are a Native American individual and/or know a great deal about the Native groups that populated the East Coast Region before colonization and can help me with a minor question, please contact me via this link. Thanks!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Due to some stuff on the Internets, I did some research (omg) on the # of women writers in the three digests so far this year.  The results of this, and my thoughts on the magazine that came out on top (Asimov’s), are over at the FSFBlog today.

Sean Wallace informs me that last year Fantasy published 83% women.  And, if you don’t remember, when certain types of people noticed this (I’ll leave it to you to determine what types of people those were), there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth and cries of “Oh, it’s so sad that Fantasy magazine doesn’t care about me and my stories”, and other such goings on. (cue tiny violin.)

Exercise and Work

I blame Scalzi for this.

At the end of that post about how unhealthy life is for bloggers (we’re all gonna DIE) he mentioned giving them all stationary exercise bikes with laptop desks so they could do cardio while trolling the Internet. That sent me off looking to see if such things existed, because considering how many people spend all day at a computer, it seems like it should. It does. But the company doesn’t seem to get a lot of business. I suspect it has something to do with that website. You cannot convince geeks to buy your stuff if your website isn’t sleek.

Also, the workstation is out of stock. But, I thought, I have a laptop desk — one like this — why not just buy a recumbent bike? Then I can roll the desk over to me and be in business. I started researching and found several that might work. I’m partial to this one because it has less to get in the way of my desk. But this one is cheaper.

Then there is this thing, which is meant to go under a desk and is much more portable/storable. Another version of it, with less hardware. I haven’t the slightest clue if it’s any good or what makes a good exercise bike. Anyone want to enlighten me?

I can’t afford most of them, honestly. And I wish I could try them out to see if they worked. Still, it would be peachy keen to exercise while I do computer stuff. Might even get me geared up to actually venture out into the sun.

Anyway, as my birthday is coming up, I will ask folks, if they are so inclined, to contribute toward getting such a beast. If you would like to, there’s a little button on the sidebar of my site which will exist there until the end of April.

Same Plot, But Who Did It Best?

I was highly amused by this list of The 10 Most Insane, Child-Warping Moments of ’80s Cartoons, which I found through the Jem mailing list I’m on (shut up). It’s weird because some of the stuff at the “bottom” is far more traumatizing than the stuff at the top. I think they have the numbering backwards.

I’d forgotten about that episode of GI-JOE with Shipwreck’s fake family and the androids that melted and ahhhh that was so messed up! Though I have to say not as creepy as the part in the GI-JOE movie where Cobra Commander was turned into asnake-human beast and kept repeating “I used to be a man…. I used to be a man…” The black GI-JOE nearly punched him out.

Anyway, the Shipwreck episode got me thinking about reused plots because I just watched a Star Trek: TNG episode with a similar story. The one where Riker wakes up 10 years in the future, he’s the captain of the Enterprise, has a son, and is all WTF I don’t remember any of this! And at first he thinks it’s a Romulan plot but then it’s not. I’m pretty sure the GI-JOE ep came first, but I can’t be sure.

Not that this is some major thing, TV shows often recycle plots, and often there are plots that you always see in certain genres of shows. Sitcoms have their own, dramas have their own, and SF shows have their own.

Just off the top of my head, there’s the your life was actually a crazy hallucination plot. Like that episode of TNG where Riker (why is it always Riker?) thinks he’s going crazy and an alien psychiatrist tries to convince him that his whole life on the Enterprise was made up in his head. Someone once informed me that this happened on Buffy, too, while we were watching a Stargate: Atlantis episode where Wier was the one who thought she was crazy.

There’s the time loop plot, where characters keep experiencing the same slice of time over and over, sometimes without realizing it for a while. This happened on TNG, but my favorite one was the Stargate: SG1 episode where Teal’c and Jack were the only ones who saw that the day kept repeating itself, to hilarious results.

The evil counterpart plot, the most famous probably being the classic Star Trek episode where Kirk goes to the evil universe with a bearded Spock. This was later revisited on Deep Space Nine, though less successfully, IMO. There was a good TNG book about it, though. One of the only good episodes of Stargate: SG1‘s ninth season was of this stripe.

The out of phase plot, where characters are invisible and can’t be heard, but they aren’t dead, just shifted slightly off to the side. TNG again (Geordi & Ro), SG-1 again (Daniel), and at least two episodes of Strange Days at Blake Holsey High.

The who the hell is this person we’ve never seen before but was supposedly here the whole time? plot. From what I understand, Buffy’s sister’s entire storyline is this. Same goes for Cam on SG-1. That show also had an episode in the 4th or 5th season where an alien had a pheromone or something that implanted false memories in people to make them think they’d known him all along. Recently, Torchwood had something similar in the ep. “Adam”, though the alien in this case was much more sinister. More sinisterness in an episode of TNG where the whole crew lost their memories and suddenly there was some dude we’d never seen before pretending to be part of the bridge crew.

The bringing people back from the dead in messed up ways plot is usually about fan service. Like the time TNG brought back Tasha Yar as the Enterprise slipped into an alternate dimension, Callisto’s many appearances on Xena after she died, Kira’s boyfriend coming in from the evil dimension on DS9, and Janet & Martouf similarly coming over from another universe on SG-1. Torchwood‘s “They Keep Killing Suzie” isn’t really fan service, though.

Oh, and Character X meets her/his double! I like it best when the double is some random person not related to the character in question but who just happens to look exactly like them. There were several hilarious Xena episodes wherein we discovered two or maybe even three women who were mirror images of Xena (her dad got around a bit, methinks). Jem & the Holograms once met a princess who looked like Kimber (I think a lot of these plots have The Prince & the Pauper as their base). And that awful TNG episode where Riker (again, why always him??) meets himself, a dude who is actually his exact genetic double because of some transporter splicing (they blamed the transporter for every damn thing). I still hate that episode.

ETA:  Veejane and Deedop both pointed out variants of the Body Switching plot, the secret/surprise switch and the known switch. Classic Trek has the Kirk swaps with Janice Lester episode, SG-1 had an absolutely hilarious one where, eventually, Teal’c and Jack switched, and Chris Judge showed the real range of his amazing acting. Stargate: Atlantis also had an episode, as well as a very funny episode of Farscape.

Charlie brought up “the living-someone-else’s-life-in-your-head plotTNG did it with Picard to commemorate a civilisation and Voyager did it for a similar reason with most of the crew who thought they’d been involved in a war that was over centuries before they arrived. I suspect SG-1 have also done that one, experiencing false memories of some kind.”

There are more I can’t think of right now, help me out! Which plots that are mainly the province of SF shows do you see recycled all the time? And, of the different episodes that you’ve seen, which are the best exemplars?